ND EPSCoR ND-ACES Science Café Series

Science Cafés are open to everyone and are an opportunity for scientists and the public to discuss current work and interesting scientific issues.

Did you miss the Science Café on Wednesday, March 30th 2022 at 3:00 CT?

Watch the recording here

Did you miss the Science Café on Tuesday, October 26th 2021 at noon CDT? Watch the recording here.

Visit our Science Café site on Symposium:

ND-EPSCoR/ND-ACES Science Café Series: Masks vs. COVID-19. Masks have been at the center of much debate and controversy over the last one and a half years. How do they prevent the spread of tiny viral organisms? Does the material they’re made of make a difference? What are their properties and functions? Are terms like “nanofilters” just buzzwords, or is there more to them? In this Science Café, researchers from the ND-ACES materials pillar use their expertise in materials design, chemistry, and nanoparticles to offer a deep-dive into these questions. Dr. Guodong Du will give an Introduction on materials used for the most commonly available masks, and Dr. Julia Zhao will talk about the use of nanomaterials used in masks.  Then, four UND Chemistry Ph. D students --- Yingfen Wu, Sarah Reagen, Wen Sun, and Sandy Sun --- will talk about four types of masks:

  1. N95/KN95 masks (Sandy Sun)
  2. Surgical masks (Yingfen Wu)
  3. Cloth masks (Sarah Reagen)
  4. Nanomaterials being incorporated in masks (Wen Sun).

This Science Café features the UND Chemistry team of Drs. Zhao and Du and their students. Learn more about them below:

Dr. Julia Xiaojun Zhao is a Professor of Chemistry. She joined the UND faculty in 2004 and was promoted to full professor in 2015. Her research area is the development of various new nanomaterials for biomedical applications. She has published over 100 peer reviewed papers, 9 book chapters and holds seven issued patents in nanomaterial field. She has also co-edited a book and presented over one hundred presentations in international and national conferences.  She has received a number of research grants from NSF, DOD, DOE , EPA and the State of North Dakota. Currently she is an ND-ACES Material Pillar Co-lead.

Dr. Guodong Du is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and has been at UND since 2008. His research is on catalysis and sustainable polymers with a recent focus on the application of polymeric materials in biomedical fields. Currently he is a participant of the ND-ACES Materials Pillar.

Sandy Sun is a Ph.D. student in chemistry department at University of North Dakota. He joined Dr. Zhao’s group in 2019. His research mainly focuses on the design, synthesis and characterization of novel fluorescent nanoparticles (quantum dots, polymer dots) and their biological applications.

Wen Sun is a Ph.D. student in chemistry at University of North Dakota. She joined Dr. Zhao’s group in 2018. Her research is on the development of nanomaterials for electrochemical catalysis and energy storage applications.

Sarah Reagen is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Dakota. She joined Dr. Zhao's group in 2019. Her research is on the development and synthesis of nanoparticles for biological and environmental applications.

Yingfen Wu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of North Dakota. She joined in Dr. Julia Xiaojun Zhao’s group in 2019. Her research is on the development and synthesis of nanozymes for bioapplications.

If you missed the first ND EPSCoR ND ACES Science Café moderated by Dr. Zoltan Majdik and featuring Dr. Archana Dhasarathy and Dr. Sarah Sletten, you can watch the recording on the live sessions page: https://symposium.foragerone.com/sciencecafe

ND-EPSCoR ND-ACES Science Café Series: COVID-19 Vaccines. They're finally here. They're effective. But what's in them, and how do they work? In this Science Café, Drs. Archana Dhasarathy (UND) and Sarah Sletten (UND) talk about the new COVID-19 vaccines. How were they developed? How do some of the new methods used to design and produce them compare to more traditional methods of vaccine development? And most importantly, how do these vaccines help our bodies fight off the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

This Science Café featured Drs. Dhasarathy and Sletten, learn more about them below:

Dr. Dhasarathy did her PhD at Texas A&M University and postdoctoral training at the NIH. She joined UND in 2012. She is a molecular biologist whose research focuses on the role of epigenetic events in cancer metastasis, and particularly, a process known as ‘Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition’ (EMT), which causes cells to change their shape and migrate. She is studying how DNA, RNA and protein interact to change and regulate gene expression, which is the underlying cause of both normal and disease states. She is an ND-ACES Cellular Systems at Materials Interface Pillar Co-lead

Dr. Sletten is and Educator Scholar in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She teaches undergraduate microbiology and immunology courses for biology, nursing, engineering, and pre-health majors. She serves as a Co-lead for the Education and Workforce Development element of ND-ACES.

ND-ACES: New Discoveries in the Advanced Interface of Computation, Engineering, and Science (ND-ACES), ND EPSCoR’s most recent NSF cooperative agreement, is a five-year cooperative agreement that carries an 80/20% federal/state match. 2020-2025 NSF EPSCoR Track-1 Cooperative Agreement, $20 million, Award Number 1946202

Principal Investigator (PI): Colleen Fitzgerald, Ph.D.; NDSU

Co-PI: John Mihelich, Ph.D.; UND